Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students

In nursing school, pharmacology class is challenging for most students. Pharmacology focuses on how drugs work, their effects, and how the body utilizes drugs. Most nursing students find pharmacology very tough. When they are in clinicals, they have to administer medicines to patients under the careful supervision of their instructors.

Pharmacology is one of the most essential subjects in nursing school because nurses are the ones who dispense medicines to patients. Nurses are also the one who supervises how well the patient is tolerating certain medications.

Without understanding how drugs work, a nurse might dose her patient with too much or too little medication, causing harm to her patient. A nurse must spend a significant amount of time in nursing school learning about hundreds of drugs.  So let’s talk about Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students to help make mastering pharmacology a little easier.

In this article, we are going to talk about:

  • Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students
  • Common problems students have in Pharmacology in Nursing Program
  • Strategic ways  and study plan on How to ace Pharmacology for Nurses

But before, let’s take a brief look at the pharmacology course.

Pharmacology Notes for Nurses

Pharmacology is a challenging course for nursing students because it requires them to know how drugs work. During clinical, nurses need to have enough knowledge about medications to plan when giving specific doses to their patients. Nurses are required to be knowledgeable to prevent dangerous drug interactions.

If a nurse does her patient the wrong way or has an inappropriate timing in giving medications, then that nurse will have problems with their nursing license and can even lose it if mistakes are big enough. It is crucial to learn pharmacology well so that nurses won’t make any severe mistake of administering meds during clinical rotations.

Pharmacology’s Content

Pharmacology courses contain much content, but most nursing students have trouble with drug calculation and metabolism. Some of the classes covered during pharmacology are Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, Drug Metabolism, Excretion Mechanisms & Non-Prescription Medications.

These are some subtopics discussed in the pharmacology course that requires knowledge from students. Depending on the school where you are studying, there might be a different set of content for pharmacology courses. However, all nursing students have to learn about these essential facts about medications if they want to become a nurse.

Why is Pharmacology a Challenging Course for Nurses?

Nursing school can be challenging, but most students enjoy going to classes and learning about topics related to nursing. However, pharmacology is very hard because there is much information about medications that need to be taught for nursing students to understand the whole picture of what they need to learn during their clinical.

Nursing students must know when to give certain medications to patients not to cause harm in drug interactions. Also, nurses need to know about administering specific dosages without making severe mistakes in administering meds to prevent errors caused by poor nurse practices. Drug dosage calculation is very important.

What Are the Problems Nursing Students Have in Pharmacology?

When it comes to the student’s problem, every student may be facing different issues, but the following are some common problems that almost every nursing students have during their pharmacology course:

Developing a Study Method to Use

When it comes to studying pharmacology, the first thing first is to develop a study method that’s customized for you. Everyone has their own way of studying and it should be made according to your preferences. There are many ways on how students can study pharmacology like reading lecture notes, reviewing questions, attending lectures, studying textbooks, writing down summaries of what was learned during classes, etc.

Learning What Material Is Essential to Know and What Is Not

Many students wonder how to make things easier for them to study pharmacology. Nursing students need to know what material is necessary and what is not because it will save their time and energy in studying unnecessary and unimportant materials to be learned.

Try to Memorize Every Single Drug Name and Its Side Effects

When it comes to memorizing drug pre-fixes and names, their side effects, students need to know about every individual drug. Students need to prioritize learning drugs essential to learning compared to those unrelated to the nursing profession. Certain medications need only high school basic knowledge of taking care of patients to take the information.


When it comes to cramming, it is not a part of the study method when studying pharmacology. There are many things that students need to learn about which is essential for them to know. Still, it is not recommended that nursing students do cramming when taking pharmacology because it is dangerous since there are many medications with different sides effects if they are taken in high dosage.

Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students

Most students find it hard to study pharmacology because of the high dosage of information they need to learn. However, there are some tips on how nursing students can ace their pharmacology course without studying too much and spending too much time memorizing drug names.

Make Outlines

After reading your lecture notes or your book for pharmacology, make outlines according to the topics covered by the teacher/professor during lectures or class discussions. These outlines will allow you to know what subtopics/chapters were discussed, including new terms and acronyms learned during the debate, which is vital for you to remember so that you don’t forget them when taking exams.

Review Materials Before Taking the Test

Before taking your exam, review all of your materials, notes, medication cards, and outlines that you have made at home. This will help you refresh your mind with what was discussed in class which is essential when taking lecture exams. Also, some students like to make flashcards of drugs names and their side effects, which is also an excellent way to study pharmacology.

Utilize Your Resources

There is no need for nursing students to study everything on their own; they can always seek help from other sources – professors, classmates, or even friends – who have the same class with you so that you guys could share ideas and concepts about what was discussed during lecture, instead of going to school/classrooms and listening to unnecessary things again.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Take pharmacology as a subject that is easy to learn, and it’s okay if you don’t know everything about medications and their side effect; it is super normal for students who are taking this type of course.

Nursing students should not be afraid to ask professors questions if they find something confusing – professors will always answer your question with a clear explanation – instead of giving up studying altogether.

It is better to research pharmacology after discussing things with your classmates or friends than to learn alone without knowing what you’re learning because you fear that you might get something wrong, leading to failing the course. You can find in-depth online tutorials on youtube about your subject.

Nursing Students Should Not Give Up

Studying pharmacology is difficult for nursing students because they are afraid of getting things wrong. After all, it can reflect poorly on them even if they have the best intentions. However, being a bad student is never an option which makes studying pharmacology easier for everyone.

Nursing students need to practice self-discipline and determination when taking this type of subject so that their grades won’t go down because of poor study habits. As long as you know what you are studying, where to find information, or how to learn something new, everything will be okay; don’t ever forget that it is a lifelong process, and you will know things step by step.

Where to Find Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students

Nursing Exams Can Be Hard, but It’s Worth It!

Many nursing students find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of information that they need to memorize to ace their pharmacology examinations; this is the reason why some people would rather quit studying and give up on what they have learned.

However, suppose nursing students feel like giving up. In that case, they should not because there are many ways to study for an exam – all of them do not necessarily mean memorizing everything about medications and their side effect – which will guarantee them passing marks/grades at the end of the semester.

So we hope you liked this information, don’t forget to share this with your friends because they might be facing the same issue as you are. Our only purpose is to help students with their exams.

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